This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
The principal treatment required by the acute form of this disease is confinement in bed; a restricted diet, consisting of oatmeal gruel, fruits and grains, and other light vegetable food; avoidance of animal food of all kinds excepting milk, of stimulating condiments and intoxicating beverages of all sorts; and for the relief of pain, hot fomentations applied continuously for several hours if necessary. The hot-water bag is a very useful means of applying fomentations in these cases. By wrapping the bag in a flannel cloth wrung out of hot water the heat will be retained very much longer than when a fomentation is applied in the usual way. In cases in which the fever is high and the acute symptoms have passed away, a wet-sheet pack may be administered, or the patient may be sponged frequently with tepid water. In some cases the application of cold to the chest, by means of cloths wrung out of cold water, or even ice compresses, gives more relief than hot applications. In still other cases, the local symptoms are best controlled by means of cold compresses alternated at intervals of an hour or two with short fomentations. Recovery almost always takes place in the acute form of the disease.
Chronic pleurisy is a much more obstinate malady. It is generally not recognized until after its effects have become fully developed. If the accumulation of fluid in the chest has existed for several months, the collapsed lung becomes so permanently injured that its full use can seldom be recovered. The first object in treatment should be to induce, if possible, absorption of the fluid. This may best be done by the use of all measures which will improve the patient's strength and vitality. The same general course should be followed for this purpose as is recommended in the treatment of consumption. In addition to these general measures, alternate hot and cold applications should be daily made to the chest. Electricity may also be used with benefit. If the patient is strong, the vapor or hot-air bath may be employed with advantage two or three times a week. If, after the faithful employment of these measures for a reasonable length of time, there are no evident symptoms of improvement as indicated by a decrease in the shortness of breath, the cough, and the amount of fluid in the chest as shown by percussion, the fluid should be removed from the chest by tapping or aspiration.